Archive | December, 2015

2015 in Summary

31 Dec

As 2015 draws to an end, this is a good time to reflect back and evaluate what the year meant to me. There were a lot of changes for me. The big one being my first born, M1 leaving home for university in the US. It was hard to let go but we had to. Sigh…

On the personal front, I stopped reading after my last book, Genghis Khan; his story was just too intense to digest with me constantly having visual overloads of vast lands and sky-high mountains. It was too epic and nothing else could top that. So I stopped reading. 

Maybe come 2016, I should get back to reading and realign my visual senses. Have a pile of books of other genres by my bedside to entice me so that I will go back to reading, something that I honestly enjoy. Perhaps this will also cut down my addiction to my virtual games.

2015 had me constantly crushing candies, popping sodas, saving farm animals and being a zookeeper to keep myself challenged and aggravated. And as if this was not enough, I started blasting monsters and flowers too. Hubby thinks these activities take up too much of my time. I don’t think it is time-consuming but rather, it keeps the mind alert. Yes, I am not being apologetic about this I must admit. Oh… I recently downloaded Piano Tiles 2, just to keep my reflexes agile. Maybe more virtual addiction in 2016?

We played just as much golf in 2015 too, locally and abroad with friends whenever we have the opportunity. I think this is good for our soul and friendship; it is also good to rejuvenate our spirits for a day or a few days and come back fresh to face the daily challenges. 

Work-wise, it has been busy and not so busy. Writing on my blog keeps me busier as it is still on-going daily except for Wednesdays and more when I travel. 

On health matters, there were issues. Last year, I had major tinnitus and sinus problems and had to visit the ENT several times to cure it. Besides this, I had to manage a recurring injury on my left wrist from golf. This year, the injury persisted somewhat. On top of this, my pre-molar tooth gave way and ended up being extracted. There was also my constant (but unspoken of) chronic back pain. Not forgetting my annual laryngitis. Ouch. Thank goodness, the list ends here! I hope 2016 will be healthier and better health management. Cross fingers.

Family wise, M1 is back on campus and has registered for classes already. She will continue as a Sophomore when the new year kicks in. M2 is suddenly all grown up (with M1 away), behaving more matured than the 14 years old that she actually is and will start the year as a Form 3 student. Official pet number one, Rooney being official pet number one, remains demanding for snacks and scratches always and hubby, well, he continues being hubby – strong, understanding and steadfast by my side.

Sometimes I wonder why I do this, write and share my experiences and inner thoughts with strangers. Well, for one, I would like to leave something for my girls to gain an insight (and understanding) into what makes me tick. I am a sentimental person, every moment and single piece of object is important and has a story. But I feel objects kept over the years just do not tell the real story as well as words. So I write about them, randomly and frequently.

All the experiences I had in my life and especially with the girls growing up are only in my mind to remember. The girls cannot see or even remember some of it. Rehashing these memories are wonderful for me because it jogs my thoughts to rewind back as far as I can and I find this very invigorating. 

By journaling especially here since the beginning of my blog in mid-2013, I hope my girls and others will read and visualise the moment, experience the occasion and perhaps appreciate the story-teller in me. Sometimes the topic can be mundane (like my Candy Crush battles) or delicious (with the food trails) and even insightful (on my travels). At that moment in time, it was significant to earn a mention and I truly enjoyed the experiences and want to share.

Yes, 2015 has indeed been quite a year for me. Am I a better person? We can only know in the years ahead. I have long since stopped making resolutions for the New Year but I do hope I will continue to live my life to the fullest and whatever I embark upon, I will do with passion and commitment.

Thanks 2015, we did good. 2016 will be better! Here’s wishing everyone a very Happy and better 2016!

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Sleepless Nights

29 Dec

Monday morning was a zombie day for me because the night before I did not sleep at all and a little headache was building throughout the day. Anxiety, fits of cough and stomach cramps all rolled into one the whole night as I willed time to speed up a little so that we can know M1 is safe. 

Thanks to technology, we were able to track her flight path through flightaware.com and managed to connect with her when she transited in Narita. She told us they departed 20 minutes late from Changi but yet managed to arrive 20 minutes early. Amazing.

Even with such connectivity, there was worry in us. Parents. I simply cannot fathom back then how Mom and Dad felt when I went off to college with the wait and anxiety. Maybe like this but worse without the two things we have nowadays, technology and instant connectivity.

There was one year I came home for Christmas and it took a total of 36 hours, starting with a bus ride down from Flagstaff through the icy roads to Phoenix to catch my flight at LAX but was rerouted via San Francisco instead to head on to Hong Kong, Singapore and finally, Kuala Lumpur. 36 hours, what a marathon.

M1’s journey was not as crazy as mine, thank goodness but still, it’s a long way. It was slightly after 1.40am my time when she landed and two hours later, we heard from her. I then slept better. 

No more sleepless nights!

Too Much Happening

28 Dec

It was an intense two weeks with M1 back; there was so much eating and traveling. And suddenly, it’s all over. She left for the States yesterday night via Changi Airport, Singapore. Although there was an hour delay from KLIA2, the 5 hour buffer is sufficient for her to catch her connecting this morning, unlike her 50-minute gap the other day. 

That one, all legs of the flight were delayed (from the US-inbound to outbound) and she had 10-minutes to run to the gate at Narita. But thankfully, it worked out fine then.

By the time this gets posted, she would have flown only a few minutes to Narita International and a long way more to go.

Yes, I am tracking her flight on flightaware.com. And it was a restless night in between anxiety and fits of cough. It will be a restless next 24 hours until I know she’s arrived safely. Unfortunately, it has been several restless nights for me with this awful infection that I am having that has caused me to lose my voice.

I thought my record of getting laryngitis would be broken this year (three years in a row I had it) but no, it struck the week after we returned from Penang. So now, I am into my second week of this suffering. The inflammation in the throat has gone but so has the voice!

I guess it didn’t help that during the Christmas Eve dinner, I bravely downed red wine, white wine, coffee and whiskey. I didn’t overeat, I just drank a variety of drinks. I thought heck, why not? Alcohol kills germs. Plus, we were celebrating a happy occasion and let’s be merry about it!

Then on Christmas night, we went for steamboat, to complete M1’s ‘to eat’ list. Golly, by Boxing Day, I was rendered speechless. I am not even hoarse, just totally speechless. It takes a lot of energy to muster up even a tiny bit of strength to speak and even then, I cannot be heard by all three of them. (Silent sigh)…

So when M1 left, whatever that has to be said has been spoken (thankfully much earlier before my illness struck); whatever else that still needs to be spoken was left unspoken as a result of my inability. It’s tiring to aggravate the vocals.

Maybe less words spoken at this juncture is better. It was a quick emotional goodbye, a hug and again, some tears and she went through the gate. Hubby and M2 held up much better.

Unlike her first time leaving home in March, this time I take relief in knowing she’s going off to university as a Sophomore and being more exposed, I shouldn’t worry too much and should focus on getting my voice back. It has been too intense for me. 

(Silent sigh)…

What a Feast!

25 Dec

Merry Christmas! The pictures say it all; the Christmas spread was all homemade-save for the two cold cuts-and prepared with love. Pre-dinner was red wine with salami and chocolates. 

For dinner, we had the traditional turkey, mash potatoes with bacon bits, salad, dinner rolls and a cake and lots of wine. And after dinner, out came the coffee and more dessert, pumpkin spiced Oreos and whiskey! It was a good time with everyone feted and happy moments forever in our memory banks now. 

When present wrappers were shredded, many squeals of delight and joy could be heard along with the oohs and aahs. The joy of giving and the joy of receiving is indeed priceless.

Sigh. Another year has gone by so quickly.

Merry Christmas again to everyone and thank you to the readers/followers of my blog. May your year end on a high!

 

Christmas Eve Dinner 2015

  

Toblerone cheesecake

   

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Christmas Eve

24 Dec

I cannot believe it’s Christmas Eve already and tonight’s the big family Christmas dinner at my only sibling’s house. This also means we have three days left with M1 before she returns to university.

Every year over at the Lee household, they would roast a turkey which has become a tradition in our family to dine on during Christmas, and I would supply the sides, the salad and hams, along with the wine. Mom would bake dinner rolls.

It will be a merry time with everyone around – the boisterous eating, chatting and laughing; followed by the present opening occasion and you can see everyone ooh-ing and ahh-ing at their presents. But it will also be a special time as M1 spends time with the whole family when she was not supposed to be back now but Summer next year. Oh well, plans change. 

Three more days… let’s make it memorable.

I Did It!

22 Dec

As per my previous years, I always waited until the last minute to complete my Christmas shopping. This year, I did it again, completing my list yesterday and three days before Christmas Eve.

But it was a good outing with the girls. They bought their necessaries and I did too. And after the shopping, we had a good dinner with Mom to continue the ‘to eat’ list for M1.

The restaurant looked like a Mom and Pop shop and the shop owner was a grouchy old man who mumbled half the time and had to keep repeating himself when we couldn’t hear him. And this made him more grouchy. 

The main item that we went for, Hokkien Mee, was sold out that evening. Shucks! We had to make do with the other choices which were just as good. We had two noodles, a standard veg, ribs and mantis prawn. Needless to say, they were all good.

You could say our usual Saturday evening dinners with Mom was brought forward to Monday. But we will go back to the place to try their Hokkien Mee another time.

 

Claypot Loh Shi Fun


  

Vege

Red Wine Pork Ribs

Wet Butter Mantis Prawn

 

Cantonese Yin Yong

 
  

A Little Bit of Everything

21 Dec

Saturday was a little bit of everything. We had a leisurely breakfast, then we walked along the beach enjoying the breeze and watching the busy activities. As we strolled along, we discovered a pod-like jelly creature, which we initially thought was a jellyfish pod carrying eggs. How ignorant we were.

Accordingly to the local chap who came up to us and educated us on this creature, it is not a jellyfish but something else, and it’s not poisonous but edible! One should just gut its innards out and then throw it into a Kerabu salad. Hmm… Interesting but I don’t think I will be adventurous enough to try this. Furthermore it’s a little too slimy for my liking.

After the stroll, we went back to our room and packed, getting ready to check out. As much as we enjoy Penang, it’s time to say goodbye. But not before making a stop at Kuantan Road to buy some ‘Beh Teh Saw’ biscuits and then to Sunshine Farlim Mall for another biscuit purchase. 

We decided to have an Assam Laksa, Chee Cheong Fun and Chendol lunch before we left the island. After all, these have yet to be checked off the ‘to eat’ list.

By two, we left the island and headed further North to visit hubby’s parents. We had a good dinner with his parents that evening since it’s hubby’s birthday and it’s been awhile since he last celebrated this occasion with his parents.

By Sunday, we had to make our way back home, detouring to Ipoh again – this time to buy a Salted Baked Chicken for dinner. The drive was rather tiring because traffic was quite heavy along certain stretches and it rained every now and then. Traffic on the highway will get worse as Christmas draws closer with loads of holiday makers on the road.

It has been a whirlwind week with M1 back; we’ve literally covered from South to North of the Peninsular. This week, we are staying put in town to finish my Christmas shopping and to fulfill M1’s checklist of ‘food to eat’, ‘people to see’ and ‘things to buy’ before she returns to university.

Yes, it’s a short time we have with her but better to have something than nothing at all.

  

Incoming para-sail!

   

Check those innards out!

  

All line up please

 

 

Everything was so good!

 
 

Brinjal, Tofu, Steam Fish, Chicken & Veg

 

The Sun is Out!

21 Dec

It’s a good start to the day as after breakfast, I lounged by the poolside with the sun beating down. Let’s see how long I can endure baking under the sun while the girls went exploring along the beach. So did my tan even out? Nope. It got too hot!

A very lazy day, hubby and I went for a massage too while the girls just hung out by the pool after their beach stroll. Without any solid plans, we just chilled and then had lunch at The Bungalow again because we were not in the mood to drive out. We had the Lone Pine Sandwich, a Chun Piah (like a giant chimichanga), Inchi Kabin and of course, a nice cold beer.

By mid-afternoon, we decided to venture beyond the Ferringhi area. Perhaps some shopping and eventually dinner! I anticipate street food and definitely looking forward to it.

We ended up at Sg Pinang Food Court, meeting up hubby’s sister and her family. It was a good catch up time although we saw her not too long ago during the wedding several weeks back.

As far as food was concerned, more items were checked off M1’s list as tonight, we covered Char Kueh Teow, Prawn Mee, Chicken Wings, BBQ Stingray, Grilled Squid and Lobak. Burp…

All in all it’s a good end to the day. Tomorrow we leave Penang and head further north to visit Hubby’s parents.

   
   

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Noo… It’s Raining

17 Dec

Lone Pine is nice, very nice. It’s actually one door away from Shangri-La Golden Sands Resort and a much smaller outfit than Golden Sands; in other words, less crowded which suits us fine.

Our room is great! Comes with a balcony and big enough to fit four, it’s definitely comfortable. The sun was out only for a short while and by dinner time, it rained. I guess we will just dine on premise at The Bungalow and later enjoy the room. Tomorrow I hope the weather will be kind and let the sun come out!

  

  

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Eat Again!

17 Dec

It is literally a gastronomic adventure. We detoured to Ipoh for their famed Chicken and Beansprouts Kueh Teow. Stopping at Restaurant Lou Wong, which we did several months back when we came to Ipoh for golf, we can never be tired of this combination. Ipoh has the best beansprouts!

Coupled with Fish Ball soup and Chicken Feet, all I can say is burp!

As we make our way slowly into the island, just catching the rush hour traffic, the warm sun greeted us. I am simply dreaming to be by the poolside with a cold beer in my hand. Mmm…

Lunch in Ipoh